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Thaivisa World Exclusive: Scrabble world rocked by cheating as Thais prepare for crack at World Championship

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Thaivisa World Exclusive: Scrabble world rocked by cheating as Thais prepare for crack at World Championship

 

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The world of international Scrabble was rocked this week by the banning of one of its leading players for cheating.

 

Scrabble is the world’s most popular word game and is played competitively and for money by thousands in Thailand and around the world.

 

As three Thai players prepare to take on the world’s best at the de facto World Championship in Nairobi, Kenya, came news from the UK that one of the leading lights of the game had received a three year ban.

 

It was claimed that he was manipulating tiles drawn from the bag to give him an advantage.

 

Banned was 2008 UK national Scrabble Champion Allan Simmons who lives in Coldingham in Scotland.

 

Simmons is one of the most well-known players in Scrabble having won multiple titles and written several books about the words and strategy of the game.

 

He is also a regular columnist writing about Scrabble for The Times newspaper.

 

He was initially banned after three World English Language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) representatives met to consider the case. The initial ban was one year but as more information came to light it was extended to three.

 

He is believed to have denied the charges.

 

Many players in the UK and around the world are concerned by a lack of transparency in how decisions such as these are made and announced.

 

Other countries including Thailand are not immune to charges of cheating. An unnamed player was recently banned in Thailand for at least one year and the WESPA Championships in the Kenyan capital may feature the return to international action of Sam Kantimathi, a USA player who served a four year ban.

 

A player from the middle east was ejected from a Malaysian event a few years ago when he was caught cheating by the organizer.

 

The WESPA Championships are considered by many to be the game’s world championships.

 

Three players are competing from Thailand for the top prize. These are Chiang Mai doctor Jakkrit Klaphajone, Akkarapol Khwansak, who runs an academy teaching children how to play Scrabble in Nakorn Ratchasima and Bangkok expert Thacha Koowirat a former winner of the prestigious Masters division at the Causeway Championships in Malaysia.

 

Both Akkarapol and Jakkrit finished in the money at the last WESPA championships in Perth, Australia in 2015.

 

They will be hoping to do better this time but two players in particular stand in their way. One is the Perth Champion Jighere Wellington from Nigeria. He was feted by the president of his country on returning from his victory and regularly features on TV in Nigeria where Scrabble, like Thailand, is considered a sport.

 

The other is former world champion Nigel Richards originally from New Zealand who lives in Kuala Lumpur. Nigel is generally accepted as the greatest player of all time and has won the international Thailand Crossword Game King’s Cup on more than ten occasions.

 

He has also won championships in the French language though hardly speaking a word of French.

 

Well over 100 participants from up to 50 countries are expected to take part in Kenya from next Monday to the following Sunday. The acceptable word list contains more than a quarter of a million entries.

 

Scrabble – known in Thailand as Crossword Game – enjoys a great popularity in the kingdom. Thousands of children and adults play the game after it was introduced into the curriculum in many top schools.

 

There are championships as part of the University Games.

 

Regular tournaments attract thousands of players to shopping mall events held throughout Thailand with the game being sponsored by big business as well as enjoying patronage from the Thai Royal Family. 

 

 
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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2017-11-04

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Two questions come to mind:

(1) How can you cheat at Scrabble? Extra tiles up the sleeve?

(2) Do the championships use the English version of Scrabble?

 

I would assume that Scrabble in Thailand uses the Thai alphabet on the tiles, so how are the diacritics handled? For example would the Thai character ผ also have tiles for ผู and ผู้ and so forth? Seems that would be a whole boatload of tiles required.

 

And here you see how much free time I have to even be curious about this stuff.

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The article mentions: "It was claimed that he was manipulating tiles drawn from the bag to give him an advantage."

 

Perhaps the Brit has sensitive fingertips, and can gauge whether a tile is big points or blank. 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, sturdyd said:

Two questions come to mind:

(1) How can you cheat at Scrabble? Extra tiles up the sleeve?

(2) Do the championships use the English version of Scrabble?

 

I would assume that Scrabble in Thailand uses the Thai alphabet on the tiles, so how are the diacritics handled? For example would the Thai character ผ also have tiles for ผู and ผู้ and so forth? Seems that would be a whole boatload of tiles required.

 

And here you see how much free time I have to even be curious about this stuff.

Thais play the English version. You don't need to speak a language to play Scrabble in that language. Just memorize all the (250,000 in the case of English) words!

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15 minutes ago, Gulfsailor said:

Thais play the English version. You don't need to speak a language to play Scrabble in that language. Just memorize all the (250,000 in the case of English) words!

You're ribbing me, right? If not, wow! I'm having a hard time imagining how " Thousands of (Thai) children and adults play the game..."

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Scrabble is the world’s most popular word game and is played competitively and for money by thousands in Thailand 

 

This statement is defamation. Thais know that it is illegal to play card and board games for money.

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4 hours ago, Gulfsailor said:

Thais play the English version. You don't need to speak a language to play Scrabble in that language. Just memorize all the (250,000 in the case of English) words!

Ah, the benefits of rote learning!

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4 hours ago, VocalNeal said:

Played for money in Thailand?

 

I cannot believe there is a thread with Thailand and cheating in the same sentence.

I cannot believe it either. The cheating was done by a Scotsman, nothing to do with Thais.

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10 minutes ago, Regyai said:

But now he's shown it possible it's likely to boost interest in the game with Thai folk

Too late for that -

Scrabble – known in Thailand as Crossword Game – enjoys a great popularity in the kingdom. Thousands of children and adults play the game after it was introduced into the curriculum in many top schools. There are championships as part of the University Games.

 

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8 hours ago, rooster59 said:

Nigeria where Scrabble, like Thailand, is considered a sport.

Interesting comparison. :sick:

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"great popularity in the kingdom. Thousands of children and adults play the game"

For a nation with 70 million people, thousands of players is nothing. 

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They best stay away from bridge (the game, not the span). Seems cops here in Pattaya think that is where the big money plays

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Once when in Chumphon I saw there was a chess tournament.  Made me wish I was good at the game, a good way to meet and interact with people when language skills are lacking.

 

 

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